February 10, 2016

"Bill Maher Pens Blistering Essay on Hillary as 'Charlie Brown,' Trump and Why Bernie Sanders, Socialist, Can Win."

That's a funny, meta title for an essay by Bill Maher.

He begins:
It's finally a "Bill Maher election." And by that I mean it's a year of new rules — to borrow from Real Time — largely rewritten by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. No one thought a politician could survive, much less stay in the lead for as long as Trump has, based on a campaign of braggadocio and utter contempt for political correctness. But the younger generation is leading a movement to prize authenticity above all. Trump is a petulant child, but at least that's real, they seem to be saying. Bernie, too, is as real as real gets. (So real he doesn't even own a comb.)...
ADDED: You might not have wanted to wade through that much Bill Maher. It's in rant mode, obviously, necessarily. It's Bill Maher. Political comedians seem to need to use this mode. So let me pull out the part where he pretty much agrees with Trump — after a few disclaimers — on the subject of the Syrian refugees:
Forty countries in the world have some version of Sharia law. I just don't understand how liberals who fought the battle for civil rights in the '60s, fought against apartheid in the '80s, can then just simply ignore Sharia law in 40 countries. Apartheid was only in one. I am not anti-Muslim and never have been: I am anti-bad ideas. Killing cartoonists and apostates, these are terrible ideas and practices, and it would be lovely to think that they were confined only to terrorists. They unfortunately are not.

Not to be an "I told ya so," but when the Syrian refugee crisis happened, I said, "Certainly our hearts go out to these refugees, but the answer can't be to empty Syria and every other country in the Middle East where people live under repressive conditions and bring them all to Europe." Now Sweden is sending 80,000 refugees back and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is saying, "Hey, when we said you could come here, we didn't mean permanently."

Rather than letting them settle in Germany, these millions of young Muslim men, how about let's train them to go back and fight for their own country? That’s another one of my issues — the soft bigotry of low expectations. How come Saudi Arabia didn't take in any Syrian refugees? I would think they’d fit in there a little more than in Cologne. Why don't they fight their own battles? Why are Muslim armies so useless against ISIS? ISIS isn't 10 feet tall. There are 20,000 or 30,000 of them. The countries surrounding ISIS have armies totaling 5 million people. So why do we have to be the ones leading the fight? Or be in the fight at all?

So no, Donald Trump is not right — but he will win the election if the American people have to choose between his demagoguery and a party that won't even say the words "Islamic terrorism." I think the Democrats could lose on that issue alone, especially if there's another attack.
And by the way — as Trump says when he segues to his next thought — doesn't Maher's flow of ideas resemble Trump's approach to campaign oration. Trump — who's been on TV a lot — does comedy some of the time... much of the time. He has great comic timing, and part of the timing is choosing when to dip into comedy, when to go all in and when to be ambiguously serio-comic. People who like him go with the flow and enjoy it. Maybe they enjoy the daring things he gets to say, maybe they're comfortable with ambiguity, and maybe they agree with even the most extreme things. It's complicated. It's unexpected. It's entertainment. Those who hate Trump have a lower panic point: The President can't be a comedian! Or they don't like Trump's political bent, wouldn't like it even if the style was conventional, and they hate to see the conservative side finding a way to win. 

39 comments:

Quaestor said...

So real he doesn't even own a comb.

Bill Maher's humor never rises above the level of "snarky kid who can't play sports", does it?

Bay Area Guy said...

Maher is an unusual liberal. He tries to faithfully apply his liberal value system to how Islam operates in the real world (behead gays, oppress women, terrorist attacks) and, thus concludes that Islam is a terrible force for bad things.

For that, he deserves some credit.

The rest of his schtick is not so interesting.



Quaestor said...
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Quaestor said...

I suppose what Maher has to say in his clumsy offhanded manner is that Bernard Sanders (Can we get over "Bernie" for chrissakes? The man's virtually fossilized. Diminutives are for small children and village idiots.) is sincere and unaffected, which is good and bad -- good in that unaffectedness is sadly lacking in everything we American's say and do, bad in that a sincere socialist of 74 years is either extremely backward or just plain evil.

The "Charlie Brown" characterization of Hillary Clinton is just stupid. Who the heck does Maher think his audience is? Millennials probably known more about Pride and Prejudice than Peanuts, (Which is not to say they know anything worth knowing about Regency England or Jane Austen; they know it involves Keira Knightley and zombies, that's about it.) The Peanuts kids were just stand-ins for the angst-ridden neurotic suburbanites of the 1950s, and as such Charlie Brown was the unloved victim of the frustration neurosis constantly in search of social acceptance, which is why he always fell for the place kick trick. If Maher had the assiduity of say... me... he'd know that of all the Peanuts Hillary must be Lucy van Pelt with shades of Violet Grey.

(reposted with typo correction)

TWW said...

My view is there is very little difference between the establishment GOP and Democrat parties which, if I am right, goes a long way in explaining the popularity of both Bernie and The Donald (and/or Cruz).

n.n said...

The rules are that there are no rules. War, genocide, torture, cannibalism, human rights violations, civil rights violations, racism, sexism, slavery, theft, environmental destruction, establishment of a church or cult, disenfranchisement, etc. Do whatever you can get away with and ignore the rest.

Quaestor said...

War, genocide, torture, cannibalism, human rights violations, civil rights violations, racism, sexism, slavery, theft, environmental destruction, establishment of a church or cult, disenfranchisement, etc

Sounds like a party to me!

MikeR said...

He has some honesty in a few issues like Islam. But none about the liberal axioms that he doesn't think about at all - Is it possible that those axioms have failed badly in America's big cities in the last half-century? How exactly did evil conservatives who don't even live there manage to bankrupt these cities and ruin their education systems?

Fernandinande said...

Maher sucks.

Robert Fulton said...

Being that I am libertarian, it is very difficult for me to watch Maher's show "Real Time" weekly, but I do so. He is the smartest Liberal I know of and therefore just might have some wisdom for me from time to time. His jokes about conservatives are mostly meant to be funny (Liberals enjoy them and laugh heartily) and not meant to be statements about what he really thinks. He will even state something in such jokes that he is on record as not believing, if he thinks it helps the joke. He really is a comedian first, unlike, say, John Stewart. He does not adhere to the entire Liberal narrative and often challenges Liberals who do - mostly when they are being ridiculous. If one can get over the lies in the humor, his show is a good watch most times.

Tom said...

I'm an organizational development consultant. And one thing I've noticed over my career and it's something validated by research - organizations have significant rebalancing mechanisms that spring into action in the face of too much change - especially change that does t make sense to most people. I think Trump and Sanders are two sides to the same coin - they're the rebalance to too much political correctness, crony capitalism, establishment politics, and separation of leaders from the people they "serve." Balancing mechanisms don't really make a lot sense unless they're seen as a rational response to a significant change. All behavior make sense when you see the reason for the behavior and how that's interpreted in the mind. And I think Trump and Sanders are the response to all the issues I've mentioned and more. That they are absurd candidates should tell us exactly how screwed up the last eight to sixteen years have been.

jr565 said...

Maher likes to play the socialist but he will be complaining the loudest if Bernie ever raised his taxes. He pretends to be a libertarian and he pretends to be a socialist. He's actually the rich guy pretending to be the socialist to earn bona fides as a man of the people. But he doesn't' want anyone to touch his money.

He wants Bernie to spend OTHER peoples money.

motorrad said...

Read Trump's policy statements on his website. He gets into the weeds and actually gives detailed, well reasoned positions. Read them and tell me again that he is an absurd candidate.

J. Farmer said...

Bill was never a serious libertarian. He only ever invoked the term because of his opposition to so called victimless crimes (e.g. drug possession, gambling, prostitution, etc.). He has also been a fair consistent critic of nanny state tendencies. That said, Bill has always been rather liberal on welfare state and regulatory policies. He certainly moved to the lift over the course of the Bush administration.

Bill often parrots leftist talking points on a lot of social justice questions, but his comedy background makes him instinctually suspicious of PC censorship. This and his criticism of Islam make him venal among the Salon SJW set. Generally I consider myself a fan of Bill Maher, and I've been watching him since the old Politically Incorrect days, but I watch him a lot less now. And that's usually to see the panel. The "New Rules" segment is still pretty consistently funny.

Unfortunately, Bill is also an immigration apologist. And for all of his mockery of religion and his trumpeting of rationalism, he seems to endorse a lot of quack ideas about vaccines and healthcare in general.

Terry said...

MikeR wrote: How exactly did evil conservatives who don't even live there manage to bankrupt these cities and ruin their education systems?
They did it by moving from the cities to the suburbs, which they did because they are racist.
The libs have a whole mythology that explains every evil of modern America as the result of conservatives acting on their bigotry and/or greed.
So, for instance, the death of big city street car systems wasn't due to the chaotic, natural growth of American American big cities after WW2 needing more flexible transportation systems (like buses and automobiles), it due to greedy oil companies undermining public transportation to sell more gasoline, which is causing environmental destruction, and so is a far greater threat than Islamic terrorism.

retired said...

He's an insulting nihilistic asshat. I regret reading even part of the article.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Tom 7:20 A perceptive and accurate appraisal.

Henry said...

There's a lot of words in that thar stream of consciousness.

garage mahal said...

Trump is fucking boring. There has to be another reason to talk about him?

Sanders gathered a lot more votes than Trump and I hereby declare his weirdness trumps Trump.

rcocean said...

I can never figure out what's uglier, Bill Maher's mind or his face.

He's the "dogface boy" in so many ways. I think he's about 5 feet tall. A real midget- mentally and morally.

What's really funny is that his fans think he's an edgy, risk taking comedian, when in fact his fan base is the rich and powerful in Hollywood and Manhattan. He's about as rebellious as Michael Bloomberg.

Drago said...

garage mahal: "Trump is fucking boring."

LOL

And Carson is dumb. You know, like "Pediatric Neuro-Surgeon" dumb.

And Anthony Weiner was setup by those Breitbart ratf***ers!!

And routers and servers are, like, exactly the same!

Filed under "Things heard uttered in rural backwoods lily-white Wisconsin by ne'er-do-wells"

Eric said...

Maher is an unusual liberal. He tries to faithfully apply his liberal value system to how Islam operates in the real world (behead gays, oppress women, terrorist attacks) and, thus concludes that Islam is a terrible force for bad things.

Maher occasionally has a point I agree with, but he's horribly unfunny for a guy who's supposed to be a comedian. Also, I wish he'd stop calling himself a "libertarian" when he really means "libertine".

coupe said...
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Terry said...

Coupe wrote:
Not many here use 'github' probably, but the shit has hit the fan over there.
So they are explicitly discriminating against white people. Sex doesn't matter, social class doesn't matter. That would seem to be in conflict with federal (and probably state) anti-discrimination laws, but the chance that it will be investigated as such is about nil.

coupe said...

I was thinking of white women as barriers, and a picture of those orange garbage cans on freeways to keep you away from danger.

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/02/08/report-anti-white-agenda-revealed-at-githubs-diversity-team/

Terry said...

I see Ta Nahesi Coates is endorsing Sanders. Interesting, because Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, and in Coates' book "Between the World and Me", he specifically rejects democracy as being incompatible with civil rights (as he sees them).
The popinjay class seems to be falling in line behind Sanders.

Brando said...

It's hard to take any of the rest of that article seriously when I read the part where he says he does not think Hillary Clinton is personally dishonest. He must be part of that 10% of the country that thinks that way.

Wilbur said...

Maher. Like a stopped clock.

damikesc said...

Trump appearing to have FUN campaigning is a huge draw. He looks like he's having a blast.

So they are explicitly discriminating against white people. Sex doesn't matter, social class doesn't matter. That would seem to be in conflict with federal (and probably state) anti-discrimination laws, but the chance that it will be investigated as such is about nil.

PC is absolutely decimating Twitter also. And with tech stocks cratering again (remember 2001, kids?), they cannot afford to be just causing half of their user base to walk out because some kids whine about feeling "unsafe" online. The Progs cannibalize themselves a lot.

Terry said...

The EEOC routinely puts the notice 'women and minorities are encouraged to apply' on its help-wanted ads. This is implicit discrimination (men and non-minorities are not encouraged to apply).
So can a business advertise for help with an ad that says non-minorities are encouraged to apply?

Brando said...

"The EEOC routinely puts the notice 'women and minorities are encouraged to apply' on its help-wanted ads. This is implicit discrimination (men and non-minorities are not encouraged to apply).
So can a business advertise for help with an ad that says non-minorities are encouraged to apply?"

Obviously not, because in the one case you're discriminating against a group of people based solely on their gender or race, and in the other case you're...well, you see....er...

Oshbgosh said...

Motorrad
What makes you think Trump wrote those position statements? More likely they were written by highly compensated research driven consultants. In reality no one knows what Trump will do if elected President. He has no track record in public office on which to make comparisons or projections.

Brando said...

"What makes you think Trump wrote those position statements? More likely they were written by highly compensated research driven consultants. In reality no one knows what Trump will do if elected President. He has no track record in public office on which to make comparisons or projections."

Not only that, but most of his promises are vague enough that no matter what he actually does he can say he lived up to them.

Roger Sweeny said...

I thought Bill Clinton playing the saxophone in shades on Arsenio was unserious and unseemly. I thought Barack Obama telling everyone who he'd picked to win basketball games was unserious and unseemly. How ironic if they are one reason so many people don't care when Donald Trump is accused of being unserious.

Gusty Winds said...

So no, Donald Trump is not right...even though I just reiterated and agreed with his arguments in the two paragraphs above.

I don't want to threaten my open invitation to the Playboy mansion. They certainly don't wear burkas there.

Mike said...

Maher is virtually alone on the Left in asking about Sharia. To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, who likes to ask, regarding Democrats who claim solidarity with Muslims, "What part of Sharia is pro-gay rights and pro-Feminist?" How does Keith Ellison reconcile being a Democrat with the pro-gay platform and being a Muslim? Islam is not just a religion, it is a political and economic prescription. All politicians who act as if it is just a religious difference to be Muslim rather than, say, Catholic, are either ignorant or willingly playing along in hopes the rest of us are too dumb to notice.

On this issue, Maher is indeed Politically Incorrect. And thoroughly in the right.

Peter said...

"Forty countries in the world have some version of Sharia law. I just don't understand how liberals who fought the battle for civil rights in the '60s, fought against apartheid in the '80s, can then just simply ignore Sharia law in 40 countries. Apartheid was only in one. I am not anti-Muslim and never have been: I am anti-bad ideas."

Is he saying that apartheid is to racism as Sharia Law is to Islam?

If Maher is anti-Sharia but not anti-Muslim can we conclude that (1) he may be anti-Islam but he's not not anti-Muslim, or (2) he has perhaps concluded that Sharia is not Islamic?


If he's asking whether Muslims can separate Islamic religious obvservance from Islamic Law (Sharia) and Islamist ideology (Islamic supremacy), couldn't he just say so? Just what is he saying, and can what he is saying be made or construed to be logically consistent?

Saint Croix said...

he has perhaps concluded that Sharia is not Islamic?

The problem with Sharia is that it is very rule-bound, and the rules are very bad. This is one of the main criticisms that Jesus had of the Orthodox Jews, by the way. They were too rule-bound, and their love of rules (and ruling) was taking them away from God. Many of the fights in the gospels was in regard to the breaking of rules.

Ultimately Jesus reduced all the Jewish rules, and even the 10 Commandments, into two rules.

My own Christian belief is that many Muslims are engaging in blasphemy when they deify Mohammad, who is not God and should not be treated as God. And when they attempt to use power, force and war to put Mohammad's rules in place, it is taking them away from God.

This is why I think the Sufi version of Islam, which is very spiritual and not rule-bound at all, is far more religious and holy.

Peter said...

"The problem with Sharia is that it is very rule-bound, and the rules are very bad. This is one of the main criticisms that Jesus had of the Orthodox Jews, by the way."

The problem with Sharia is that it is all too obviously intended to apply to non-Muslims as well as Muslims, and never more so than in its insistence that non-Muslims may live only if they accept their inferior status as specified by Islamic Law.

Whereas "Jewish Law" is almost an oxymoron, as it has never applied to anyone who did not voluntarily accept it.